Better Call Saul Was Originally Written as a Sitcom (Yes, Seriously)

Better Call Saul Was Originally Written as a Sitcom (Yes, Seriously)
Image credit: AMC

One of the darkest dramas in the industry? Really?


  • Better Call Saul was originally written as a sitcom.
  • The show's creators reconsidered after they realized it wasn't in sync with the OG show.

Better Call Saul is a prequel spinoff of one of the greatest shows ever created, Breaking Bad. However, the spinoff itself ended up being a standalone show with the highest ratings. Some fans even argue which show is better, the original or the spinoff.

The new series explored the journey of the popular lawyer in the criminal world, Saul Goodman a.k.a. Jimmy McGill. The complex character was brilliantly portrayed by Bob Odenkirk, whose fans still believe it was one of his greatest roles.

Odenkirk was previously popular as a comedy actor, and the role of a lost soul Saul Goodman helped him become acknowledged as a drama actor as well. However, at the beginning of the project, that wasn’t the initial idea.

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Apparently, Better Call Saul was meant to be a... sitcom. It surprises us, too, but frankly, it's a common thing when the original idea for a show goes through many iterations and debates among several creative teams and ends up being far from the original. But a complete U-turn is a surprising case.

In an interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Vince Gilligan, one of the show's creators, admitted that after the new series was greenlit, they didn't quite understand what to do with the premise at the time. It was obvious that Saul would end up being the main character, but otherwise it was a blank canvas.

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So for a week or two they literally looked at the show as a 30-minute comedy per episode where people would come into Saul's iconic office and share their problems or whatever was going on in their lives. They wanted to add comedians to the supporting cast and have a lot of celebrity cameos. Can you imagine if they had gone through with that idea?

While this idea doesn't sound bad, it would never have been the greatest continuation of the Breaking Bad universe. The idea Gilligan described might have been great for a stand-alone show, but not as a spinoff. It would just seem odd and out of sync with the general tone of Breaking Bad.

Why It’s Good The Original Idea Didn’t Work Out

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As we have already said, one of the greatest things about the spinoff, apart from its extraordinary plot, is Bob Odenkirk's performance. Praised for his talents as a comedian, he finally got a chance to show his best side as a dramatic actor.

The multilayered character of Saul was mostly explored from one side in Breaking Bad, but it was the spinoff that showed us all his colors. The fans of both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are even having discussions about who of the two main characters, Walter or Jimmy, they would rather root for. And Jimmy wins almost every time.

“By the end of Breaking Bad, I wanted Walter to either die or go to jail. By the end of Better Call Saul, I thought Jimmy's actions were reprehensible, but I desperately hoped for him to realize how far he'd fallen and try to redeem himself,” Redditor PCBH87 said.

After all the terrible things he has done over the course of the show, Odenkirk's performance made Saul Goodman seem like a lost man who could actually find his way back to normal. And that's the magic.

Source: The Rich Eisen Show